Alice Herz-Sommer

Concert pianist and teacher; born 26 November 1903 in Prague, died 23 February 2014 in London.


In February of 2014, Alice Herz-Sommer passed away at the age of 110, having lived through both of the world wars, enduring the terrors of the Theresienstadt concentration camp thus making her the oldest Holocaust survivor. Born in Prague in 1903 to highly respected Jewish parents, Alice was part of cultural circles that involved Gustav Mahler and Franz Kafka and became a successful child pianist during her time in the city. Becoming a finalist at the Vienna International Piano Competition and playing to Artur Schnabel were among the highlights of her career before war descended for the second time in her life. The Theresienstadt concentration camp was supposed to be the 'model' camp, to show the rest of the world that the Nazis were treating the Jewish people well and this led to many concerts being held, with Alice being a central figure to all the music making, performing in over 100 concerts over 2 years. Before emigrating to London in 1986 she lived in Israel, teaching at the Jerusalem Conservatory.

Links and sources

Obituary in The Telegraph

Obituary in The Guardian

Interview wirh Alice Herz-Sommer

Elsewhere in this resource

Antia Lasker-Wallfisch interview 

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